Discovery promises better future for treatment of diabetes

Atheer – Oman News Agency

A recent study carried out in Sweden has noted that the current classification of diabetes based on two types is inaccurate, suggesting that there are actually five types, all of which can be treated differently.

The researchers, who completed the study at the Diabetes Research Centre of the Swedish University of Lund and the Institute of Molecular Medicine in Finland, published their findings in the Lancet Journal of Diabetes and Endocrinology studies, on data from a detailed blood analysis of a research sample of 14,755 patients.

The researchers said that their discovery could mean a better future for those suffering from diabetes, adding however that the switch to new forms of treatment would not come soon.

Contrary to the common belief that blood sugar disorders are divided into two categories, the results suggest that it is more complex.

Diabetes affects about one in eleven adults worldwide and increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and limb amputation.

Type 1 diabetes is a disease of the immune system that errantly attacks the body’s insulin factories (beta-cells) so that there is not enough of the hormone to control blood sugar levels.

Type 2 diabetes is largely seen as a disease caused by poor lifestyle as body fat can affect the way that the insulin works.

The researchers believe that patients in the study could be separated into five distinct clusters.

Cluster 1: Severe autoimmune diabetes is broadly the same as the classical type 1 – it hit people when they were young, seemingly healthy and an immune disease left them unable to produce insulin

Cluster 2: Severe insulin-deficient diabetes patients initially looked very similar to those in cluster 1 – they were young, had a healthy weight and struggled to make insulin, but the immune system was not at fault

Cluster 3 – Severe insulin-resistant diabetes patients were generally overweight and making insulin but their body was no longer responding to it

Cluster 4: Mild obesity-related diabetes was mainly seen in people who were very overweight but metabolically much closer to normal than those in cluster 3

Cluster 5: Mild age-related diabetes patients developed symptoms when they were significantly older than in other groups and their disease tended to be milder

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